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Literature - In the Pond - Essay Example

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Putting into focus the oppressive nature of post Mao China, which is a communist society the hierarchy of which is filled with corruption, Jin stresses the themes of standing up for one’s self and not letting the powerful and corrupt destroy one’s dreams…
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Literature - In the Pond
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Literature - In the Pond

Desperately longing to escape from the single room he and his wife and child have been living in, Bin’s rage is induced by the fact that he fails to obtain an apartment that would provide him and his family with a better life. He feels he has been treated unfairly and that others have been rewarded for political reasons. Unwilling to resort to something as low as bribery, he subjects himself as well as his family, to the endless waiting list for the new apartment, despite his seniority and right to one. It is evident that for some time Bin was able to function in this society quite well. But, the moment he required more than he was given, his dissatisfaction emerged from the depths of his soul. Because, in such a society, one’s power equals the amount of money he owns or people on higher positions that he knows. Effort and hard work are unjustly neglected as unnecessary qualities in a worker, while those that blindly and brainlessly follow orders, are being pushed up the corporate ladder, praised and rewarded. Seething with anger, the hapless Bin turns to the words of the Han dynasty scholar Wan Chong to find solace. His talents as a calligrapher go unappreciated, and after working all day, he can only give vent to his artistry by night. This is where Bin’s personal epic battle between good and evil commences. He gets the idea to use his talents to gain revenge by placing a satirical cartoon in the provincial paper, which is full of vigor, almost resembling a miniature revolution. Feeling utterly overcome by rage, he does not think things through, but acts rashly, and later wishes his wife stopped him. But, it is already too late. His rage has put into motion something much larger than himself and now that it is out, he cannot stop it anymore. It is said that a good artist can channel any emotion into a work of art, and this is exactly what Bin does. Feeling as low as one can possibly feel, he transforms his anger and utter dissatisfaction into expressive art. He uses his almighty calligraphy pen to fight the establishment and this is the only part of him they are not able to put down and control. It is from this part of his soul that his rebellion is teeming forcefully. Bin becomes transformed from a mindless drone into the everyman of human society, the universal man whose spiritual awakening has just found him and whose dreams have just been set in motion, despite his circumstances, despite his possibilities, despite his reality. Party leaders, secretly alarmed by the accuracy and cleverness of the cartoon, rally hastily. Calling a workers meeting, they bluster and sneer over the political incorrectness of his artwork. They respond with a pay cut and Bin creates another art piece that attacks their greed and their anti-revolutionary tendencies. Bin never backs down from the threats launched his way, and occasionally with his wife’s prodding, he continues to look for justice at the commune level, then with the county hierarchy, and finally in Beijing. Because his case becomes so famous, his supervisors are unable to just have him beat up, or to simply fire him. Bin tilts at windmill after windmill, undaunted, unwilling to give in to what he knows is wrong. His supervisors dock his pay, humiliate him, and refuse to employ his talents as a calligrapher and choose to hire an outsider instead, but he still stubbornly persists in his efforts. Both sides are caught in an accelerating spiral of recriminations and revenge, the universal human cycle of ... Read More
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